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RE:OT:Rotting Rhizomes

I just wanted to remind everyone that is ordering from a catalog rather than buying their rhizomes locally, that you are ALWAYS taking a chance of something going wrong with irises from other areas shipped in the mail.  You are still taking somewhat of a chance buying locally, but it is minimized.
There are several things that can go wrong, and do, when ordering from a catalog.  Not only is there the problem of rot as many of you have mentioned, but just as bad (if not worse) is if you spend your hard earned cash on a rhizome that just sits there in the ground and does nothing; giving forth no bloom and very little increase.  I see this as a worse situation since you have to spend more time, fertilizer, water, and SPACE over something that does not perform.
This happens a lot.  As I have learned, bringing something in from the cold northland can take time to adjust to my hot climate, therefore growth for a year or two is not so good on some varieties.  Also, soil conditions plays a big part on how a transplanted iris performs. I cannot stress this enough.  Soil conditions, soil conditions, soil conditions!  You must get your soil conditioned to make the rhizomes happy.  They like good drainage, not too much water, and they are heavy feeders.  It also helps to keep the soil around the rhizome light and fluffy. 
For any novice iris growers out there that are wanting to order from a catalog, I just wanted to raise your awareness about ordering and growing irises from a catalog.  I DO NOT want to discourage anyone from ordering irises by mail.  I just wanted to make you aware of only some of the risks involved. 
Even rhizomes you receive from the best growers may not perform well in your garden.  They can still rot almost immediately when you plant them.  For instance, one year I ordered some rhizomes from a well known place.  The weather where they came from was very rainy that year, and although they were kept  as dry as possible during transport (I assume the post office kept them dry), but they could not keep out the humidity.  Then when the rhizomes arrived here in Phoenix, it was unseasonably hot, and they were placed in our mail box in the hot sun and sat there and baked until I got home from work.  Needless to say, these rhizomes did not make it and they looked like hell when I unpacked them.  Now I ask you...is this the fault of the company that sent them to me?  Not hardly.
There are many reasons why an iris rots in your garden.  But for as many reasons there is for rot, there are also solutions.  Try to learn as many of these as you can and you will minimize the risks related to ordering from a catalog. 
Patrick Orr
Phoenix, AZ
Zone 9  USA

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